How to make the most of student ministers at your church

Lots of churches have/employ bible college students at their church while they’re studying. These students are usually asked to do things like youth group, lead services, preach 4-6 times a year, lead a growth group, run the Christmas service, etc. But is that the best use of their time? Is that making the most of who they are?

Think about these guys (and girls)… They’ve got more ministry runs on the board than your average church member – that’s why they’ve gone to college (and 100x that if they’ve done MTS). They know their bibles really well, they have a wide range of general skills. They’ve got their ministry “head” on – they understand that the gospel and people are important. They have limited time each week. And they are only going to be there for a short time – so they’re not going to be able to invest in long-term relationships with people.

How could you use them best?

  1. Invite their feedback on your ministry/church/preaching/programs!!!
    These guys are constantly thinking about ministry, people and the bible. They might not have as much experience as you do, but they’re the BEST gospel eyes you’ve got! Ask them for feedback. Ask them for critique. Ask them to ask you hard questions.
    You don’t have to agree with them. And they’ll be wrong a lot of the time. But if I had a college student coming to my church each week, I’d be sitting down with him every week or so and getting him to critique my talks, brainstorm my ministry, and offer creative solutions.
    Good for the student, great for the church!
  2. Evangelism over structures!
    If you’re paying your student minister for a few hours a week, and since they usually work on Sundays with you, why not set them the suburb to door-knock?
    Again, good for the student, great for the church!
  3. Get them training!
    Delegating is hard because people need training to MC, lead a bible study, run Sunday school.
    So most churches get their student minister to DO those things.
    Instead, get your student minister to train your people to DO those things. That way, when they leave, you’ll still have people who can do them.

Don’t mistake newlessness for growthlessness

Its really exciting hearing something new; that feeling of having your brain blown and being knocked off your feet as you realise how Jesus transforms your view of the world. We should always thank God for those moments, and look forward to more (Eph 2:7)

It is worth realising they can become addictive; we find ourselves searching sermons and blogs for that next “hit” of awe in the gospel like we had last time.

But a common problem is for young Christians (around uni age) who have come from basic youth groups and now have that brain-blast experience every week or so.

They begin to think that sensation is normal maturity. They think that what the normal Christian life is meant to feel like. They think having their world rocked is what it means to be spiritual. They think newness is growth.

But its not. In fact, it can be far from it.

The problem hits when they’ve spent 4-8 years being taught the bible, and the sermons never seems to rock their world any more, and they think they’re having a “dry-patch”, they think there’s something wrong with their walk with God.

And that’s when they’ve found the normal Christian life. Endurance, perseverance, trust and simple prayer in the face of hard times.